The Gerberian Shepsky: Sofa Shredder, Sock Thief, Heart Melter
What do you get when you combine two large, sometimes difficult-to-train, high-energy breeds like German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies? Well…the results might not be that surprising. The Gerberian Shepsky is easily one of the most high-energy and high-maintenance designer dog breeds—AKA mixed breed dogs—to ever be created, but if you’re a super-active person, this could be the right mix for you! (the video above is about a Shepsky)
Don’t underestimate just how much work owning a Shepsky can be, though—this mix is rumored to have been created in an attempt to make the perfect, high-stamina working dogs. Unfortunately, experimenting with mixing dog breeds doesn’t always go to plan.
Gerberian Shepskies can be amazing dogs and family pets, but owning one of these pups can be a challenge in and of itself.
Meet 5 Gerberian Shepskies from Instagram
Ready to meet a handful of adorable mixed-breed Shepskies? Their humans have very kindly shared photos of them on Instagram, and we are totally obsessed with their playful, cheerful, enthusiastic energy!
Aspen is a rescued Gerberian Shepsky who spends his life adventuring with his human mom and a pack of other rescue dogs! Always happy to be part of the action, Aspen is a real outdoorsman.
This handsome blue-eyed boy is Mackey, a Shepsky from Los Angeles, California with a goofy personality! Mackey is always keeping his humans entertained and his natural curiosity helps him keep everyone on their toes.
If you didn’t know that Luca is a Shepsky, you might assume he’s some kind of Golden Retriever mix with that beautiful coat! Luca is a great example of how you really never know what a Shepsky will look like until it is full grown.
Apollo still has plenty of growing left to do since he’s just a puppy, but you can already tell he’s going to be a big boy! Even though Apollo is a Shepsky, he takes after his German Shepherd parent in the looks department.
Hati is a stunning Shepsky with heterochromia or two different colored eyes! Hati likely gets her gorgeous blue and amber eyes from her Husky side, but you can see that her size and body composition look more like a long-haired GSD.
Gerberian Shepsky Basic Info
A Gerberian Shepsky should have two main parent breeds: German Shepherd and Siberian Husky.
The exact origins of the Shepsky are hard to track down, but this designer mix likely began to appear in the 1980s–90s when combining popular breeds was a new but potentially lucrative fad. Some people theorize that the Shepsky was an attempt to create a high-powered working dog, combining the tenacity, work ethic, and physical strength/stamina of both breeds. Others think that the mix was pure coincidence, the result of convenience since working dogs and sled dogs are often kept together.
However, producing a dog with predictable features, abilities, and temperament is more difficult than simply combining two breeds with desirable qualities. You never really know what you’re going to get when you mix dog breeds—some may come out exactly as you hoped, and others may be far from your ideal puppy.
With this in mind, we can still make educated guesses about what the average Shepsky’s temperament, size, and health might be like based on what we know about German Shepherd mixes, Husky mixes, and each breed individually.
Shepskies are loyal, confident, and mischievous, quick to find ways to keep themselves entertained if you neglect their exercise or mental stimulation for even a day. High-energy and athletic, the Shepsky enjoys vigorous physical activity and thrives when given a task or job to do. Perhaps more importantly, the Shepsky’s intelligence and alertness need daily stimulation through training, games, dog puzzles, toys, and other mentally challenging tasks. When not given adequate stimulation, Shepskies can run wild, often becoming destructive or expressing their frustration with reactive behaviors.
“[I have a] 1-year-old Shepsky, so high energy—but mental stimulation curbs his destructive and hyper behavior much more effectively than physical. Dogs need both, obviously, but for this breed, he could run for miles and still be up for more after a short nap!” says a comment from a Shepsky owner on Reddit who has found ways to help his pup get out his energy safely. “Before I leave for work I load up his snuffle mat with kibble, and a few other puzzle toys like a treat ball or the Kong feeders. I hide them for him to find during the day! When I am home from work, we often do training or games inside.”
Affectionate with their humans, Shepskies can be quite cuddly once they have gotten their energy out but are far from being couch potatoes. A playful large dog with incredible physical strength, Shepskies can accidentally hurt young children and are not recommended for households with very young children. Likewise, most Shepskies have a high prey drive and should be tested for cat-friendliness before being brought into a home with cats or other small animals.
German Shepherds and Siberian Huskies have a similar average height, but the GSD is significantly heavier than the Husky. Gerberian Shepskies will fall somewhere between the sizes of their parent breeds, around 20–26 inches tall and about 50–90 pounds in weight.
Both German Shepherds and Huskies are relatively healthy dogs, and neither breed has serious health issues that make the potential health of the Shepsky concerning. Like most large dogs, the major issues that plague these breeds are joint and back issues like elbow dysplasia. Some health conditions to be aware of if you own a Shepsky include:
- Joint problems (e.g. elbow and hip dysplasia)
- Eye and vision issues (e.g. progressive retinal atrophy, corneal dystrophy)
Where To Find Shepsky Puppies
If you want your very own Gerberian Shepsky puppy, we have a few words of caution. While it is possible to find breeders selling this mix, there is no oversight or standardized requirements for breeders of designer mixed breeds. This means that the vast majority of Shepsky breeders are backyard breeders and puppy mills—unethical breeding practices like these often produce puppies with uncertain health, temperament, and genetic backgrounds.
Rather than seeking out someone who has purposefully bred Shepskies, we recommend trying to adopt! German Shepherd mixes and Siberian Husky mixes are fairly common, and they can be found both in local animal shelters and through breed-specific rescues. Try starting at your local shelter or humane society, then check out a German Shepherd or Husky rescue like:
- American German Shepherd Rescue Association affiliated rescues
- German Shepherd Center
- Siberian Husky Club of America Trust
Find out more fast facts about German Shepherd Siberian Husky mixes by reading our answers to some of the internet’s most asked questions.
Can Gerberian Shepskies be AKC registered?
No, the American Kennel Club does not recognize mixed-breed dogs. The only breed registry that lists the Shepsky is the American Canine Hybrid Club.
Do Shepskies shed a lot?
Yes. Both parent breeds of the Shepsky have a double coat, so naturally, the Shepsky also has a thick double coat. Shepskies shed moderately year-round and will go into periods of heavy shedding when they “blow” their undercoat twice a year.
How much do Gerberian Shepskies cost?
Backyard breeders and puppy mills will often charge upwards of $1,000–$1,500 for their Shepsky puppies, but we don’t recommend purchasing a puppy from these kinds of breeders. If you rescue a Shepsky, you’ll pay between $300—$700.
Is a Shepsky rare?
Sort of. Shepskies are not a particularly common mix, but we can’t really classify them as “rare” either.
Are Shepskies bigger than German Shepherds?
No. Because Shepskies are a mix of German Shepherd Dog and Siberian Husky, they usually have a slightly smaller body size thanks to the addition of the smaller Husky.
What is the average lifespan of a Gerberian Shepsky?
Most Shepskies live to around 10–14 years old.
Are Shepskies easy to train?
Sometimes! Often very intelligent, the Shepsky can be wonderful at picking up and remembering commands, but some can be a little difficult to work with. Thanks to their high energy and alert natures, some Shepskies take extra work to train and may be more independent and interested in doing their own thing rather than listening to their humans.
What is the difference between a Shepsky and a Pomsky?
The Shepsky is a mix of German Shepherd and Siberian Husky. The Pomsky is a mix of Pomeranian and Siberian Husky. Very different mixes, both are half Siberian Husky.
Do Shepskies like to swim?
Sometimes. Some Shepskies love to swim, especially in the warmer months when their thick coats can get very warm and a dip in the water can help them cool down. Though not particularly adept in water, Shepskies do enjoy staying cool!
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